Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

confidence of success which springs from thy presence ! Pour into their hearts the spirit of departed heroes ! Inspire them with thine own; and, while led by thine hand, and fighting under thy banners, open thou their eyes to behold in every valley, and in every plain, what the prophet beheld by the same illumination-chariots of fire, and horses of fire! Then shall the strong man be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark; and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.

XLIX. ON THE DEATH OF HAMILTON.-Dr. Mason. SAD, my fellow-citizens, are the recollections and forebodings which the present solemnities force upon the mind. Five years have not elapsed since your tears flowed for the father of your country, and you are again assembled to shed them over her eldest son. No, it is not an illusion-would to God it were : your eyes behold it: the urn which bore the ashes of WASHINGTON, is followed by the urn which bears the ashes of HAMILTON.

FATHERS, friends, countrymen! the grave of HamilTon speaks. It charges me to remind you that he fell a victim, not to disease nor accident; not to the fortune of glorious warfare ; but, how shall I utter it? to a custom which has no origin but superstition, no aliment but depravity, no reason but in madness. Alas! that he should thus expose his precious life. This was bis error. A thousand bursting hearts reiterate, this was his error. Shall I apologize ? I am forbidden by his living protestations, by his dying regrets, by his wasted blood. Shall a solitary act into which he was betrayed and dragged, have the authority of a precedent? The plea is precluded by the long decisions of his understanding, by the principles of his conscience, and by the reluctance of his heart. Ah! when will our morals be purified, and an

imaginary honor cease to cover the most pestilent of human passions.

My appeal is to military men. Your honor is sacred. Listen. Is it honorable to enjoy the esteem of the wise and good ? The wise and good turn with disgust from the man who lawlessly aims at his neighbor's lise. Is it honorable to serve your country? That man cruelly injures her, who, from private pique, calls his fellowcitizen into the dubious field. Is fidelity honorable ? The man forswears his faith, who turns against the bowels of his countrymen, weapons put into his hands for their defense. Are generosity, humanity, sympathy, honorable? That man is superlatively base, who mingles the tears of the widow and orphan, with the blood of a husband and father. Do refinement, and courtesy, and benignity, entwine with the laurels of the brave? 'The blot is yet to be wiped from the soldier's name, that he cannot treat his brother with the decorum of a gentleman, unless the pistol or the dagger be every moment at his heart. Let the votaries of honor now look at their deed. Let them compare their doctrine with this horrible comment.

My countrymen, the land is defiled with blood unrighteously shed. Its cry, disregarded on earth, has gone up to the throne of God; and this day does our punishment reveal our sin. It is time for us to awake. The voice of moral virtue, the voice of domestic alarm, the voice of the fatherless and widow, the voice of a nation's wrong, the voice of Hamilton's blood, the voice of impending judgment, calls for a remedy. At this hour heaven's high reproof is sounding from Maine to Georgia, and from the shores of the Atlantic to the banks of the Mississippi. If we refuse obedience, every drop of blood spilled in single combat will lie at our door, and will be recompensed when our cup is full. We have, then, our choice, either to coerce iniquity, or prepare for desolation; and, in the mean time, to make our nation, though infant in years, yet mature in vice, the scorn and the abhorrence of civilized man!

Fathers, friends, countrymen! the dying breath of Hamilton recommended to you the christian's hope. His single testiinony outweighs all the cavils of the sciolist, and all the jeers of the profane. Who will venture to pronounce a fable, that doctrine of “life and immortality" which his profound and irradiating mind embraced as the truth of God? When you are to die, you will find no source of peace but in the faith of Jesus. Cultivate for your present repose and your future consolation, what our departed friend declared to be the support of his expiring moments: a tender reliance on the inercies of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ.

THE UPRIGHT LAWYER.—Greenleaf. In the walks of private life, the character of an upright lawyer shines with mild but genial luster. He concerns himself with the beginnings of controversies, not to inflame but to extinguish them. He is not content with the doubtful morality of suffering clients, whose pa sions are roused, to rush blindly into legal conflict. His conscience can find no balm in the reflection, that he has but obeyed the orders of an angry man. He feels that his first duties are to the community in which he lives, and whose peace lie is bound to preserve. He is no stranger to the mischiefs which follow in the train of litigation; the deadly feuds and animosities descending from the original combatants to successive generations; the perjuries and frauds so often committed to secure success; and the impoverishment so commonly resulting even to the winning party; and in view of these consequences, he will advise to amicable negotiation and adjustment. He is a peace maker ;-a composer of dissensions ;-a blessing to his neighborhood ;-bis path is luminous as “ the path of the just.” I look with pity on

the man, who regards himself a mere machine of the law ;-whose conceptions of moral and social duty are all absorbed in the supposed obligation to his client, and this of so low a nature as to render him a very tool and slave, to serve the worst passions of men ;-who yields himself a passive instrument of legal inflictions, to be moved at the pleasure of every hirer;—and who, beholding the ruin and havoc made by a lawsuit, which “ two scruples of honesty” in his counsel might have prevented, can calmly pocket his fee, with the reflection that he has done his duty to his client, alike regardless of the duty to his neighbor and to his God. That such men do exist, to disgrace our profession, is lamentably true; men

" that can speak
To every cause, and things mere contraries,

Till they are hoarse again, yet all be law :" We would redeem its character by marking a higher standard of morals. While our aid should never be withheld from the injured or the accused, let it be remembered, that all our duties are not concentrated in conducting an appeal to the law ;—that we are not only lawyers but citizens and men ;—that our clients are not always the best judges of their own interests,—and that having confided these interests to our own hands, it is for us to advise to that course which will best conduce to their permanent benefit, not merely as solitary individuals, but as men connected with society by enduring ties.

In the management of causes in court, the whole duty of a lawyer, not only to his client but to all others, is expressed in the simple yet dignified and comprehensive formula of his oath of office, as administered in the national tribunals,—to demean himself uprightly and according to law. He is to deal faithfully with the merits and facts of the cause confided to his care; yet not pressing them beyond their intrinsic value, or the boundaries of justice. He has not sold himself to obtain, by right or wrong, a victory for his employer; but is engaged to see that his

sonal abis to other man burdon

case is clearly and truly developed, and that the judgment pronounced upon it is agreeable to the law of the land. He is to perpetuate no falsehood,-he is to practice no chicanery ;-he is to take no advantage of the mistakes of his brethren ;-he is to resort to no low cunning; to spread no net for the unwary. He is to draw a broad line of distinction between the facts of the case, which are the property of his client, and the mode of bringing them into judgment, which is exclusively his own. In the ardor of forensic conflict he is still to be governed by the standard of morals in private life, and to personate no man but himself. He is to lend " his exertions to others, himself to none." He has no personal abuse to bestow for the gratification of another's spleen; no gibes upon virtue and religion; neither is he to neglect the courtesies which are due to an opposing brother. If, in the collisions of the bar, his anger is sometimes roused, it should be, like the anger of Hooker, but the momentary bead upon a phial of pure water, instantly subsiding without sediment or soil.” He is not to forget, that while maintaining individual rights, he is also addressing the public, and acting upon minds with which he may never again come into contact; that he is testifying for or against his profession, whose character, for the time being, he sustains, and is giving his suffrage, as a member of the community, either for virtue or for vice.

LI. CHARACTERISTICS OF A CHRISTIAN PATRIOT.-Gal

laudet.

Suppose the mind of one of our most distinguished statesmen to be under the controlling influence of the christian's faith, to be actuated by the motives which this faith inspires, and to meet with those associations of thought and feeling, which the objects of this faith afford.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »